Using Cyrus Two as a phono preamp

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oztayls
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Using Cyrus Two as a phono preamp

Post by oztayls » 23 Sep 2019 08:08

I have been using a 1980s Cyrus Two integrated amp as a phono preamp because my 1970s Yamaha CA610 doesn't have an MC phono stage, but the Cyrus Two does. The Cyrus Two can only run 1 pair of speakers but I'm running 2 pairs, so that's another reason for using the Yammie (Speakers are Klipsch Heresy 1.5s and Klipsch RP150Ms). I have the turntable plugged into the MC port on the Cyrus and the output on the Cyrus goes to the Aux input on the CA610. By accident, I have discovered that the Cyrus Two preamp works without power! I was sitting there listening to Norah Jones when I noticed the lamp wasn't lit and the switch is off. Flicking the "on" switch makes no difference to the sound.

As if this isn't weird enough, pulling the Cyrus Two's power cord from the wall (or switching off at the wall) stops it working, so the Cyrus seems to need the power cord plugged in and turned on at the wall, but doesn't mind its own power switch being off.

So it seems that while the amplifier power is off, there is still clearly some power to the preamp side. Is this normal?

JaS
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Re: Using Cyrus Two as a phono preamp

Post by JaS » 23 Sep 2019 09:17

Yes, the regulated 18V voltage supply for the preamp is permanently on in the Cyrus One and Two. The switch is for the power amp stage.

This could have been done to keep the preamp stage permanently warmed up, or to reduce the chance of a 'thump' when turning the amp on (another method is to have a delay after powering up the preamp stage before a relay switches on the power amp).

oztayls
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Re: Using Cyrus Two as a phono preamp

Post by oztayls » 23 Sep 2019 10:00

JaS wrote:
23 Sep 2019 09:17
Yes, the regulated 18V voltage supply for the preamp is permanently on in the Cyrus One and Two. The switch is for the power amp stage.

This could have been done to keep the preamp stage permanently warmed up, or to reduce the chance of a 'thump' when turning the amp on (another method is to have a delay after powering up the preamp stage before a relay switches on the power amp).
Great, thanks for that explanation. By the way, the Cyrus Two is is great little amp in its own right, but it rocks as preamp too. V

Alec124c41
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Re: Using Cyrus Two as a phono preamp

Post by Alec124c41 » 23 Sep 2019 14:46

I'm running a Cyrus 2 with the PSX in my bedroom system, feeding B&W DM-6 speakers. I could easily live with that as my main system, and be very happy.

Cheers,
Alec

oztayls
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Re: Using Cyrus Two as a phono preamp

Post by oztayls » 23 Sep 2019 21:30

Alec124c41 wrote:
23 Sep 2019 14:46
I'm running a Cyrus 2 with the PSX in my bedroom system, feeding B&W DM-6 speakers. I could easily live with that as my main system, and be very happy.

Cheers,
Alec
I agree. Previously our Cyrus Two, without PSX, was in our smaller living room, powering the Heresy’s. There was oodles of grunt in that situation and it’s sound was brilliant. With a PSX, is there just more power, or is sound output improved as well?

Mr Pig
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Re: Using Cyrus Two as a phono preamp

Post by Mr Pig » 23 Sep 2019 22:09

Why not just get a dedicated phono amp? Even a little Cambridge or Rega one is probably going to be better than the phono stage in the Cyrus.

I've always wanted to hear/try Heresys. Read a review years ago which described is a 'hooligan' of a loudspeaker! ;0)

oztayls
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Re: Using Cyrus Two as a phono preamp

Post by oztayls » 23 Sep 2019 23:21

Mr Pig wrote:
23 Sep 2019 22:09
Why not just get a dedicated phono amp? Even a little Cambridge or Rega one is probably going to be better than the phono stage in the Cyrus.

I've always wanted to hear/try Heresys. Read a review years ago which described is a 'hooligan' of a loudspeaker! ;0)
My experience with dedicated phono stages under $1000 is that they often don't compare with the built-in preamps of a very good hand-built vintage integrated amp. Back then, the only thing that mattered was the sound from vinyl records and the build quality was much better too. Nowadays, the preamp circuitry is much copied, but using cheaper materials in the under $1000 classes. I can tell you that the phono stage of the Cyrus is excellent, and I won't find a better one for double the money I'd get for the Cyrus.

As for the Heresys, it's been a slippery slope. Once we auditioned a pair of 1.5s that came up for sale, we were hooked, and came home with them. Upgrading the crossovers and re-sealing the boxes made a further unexpected jump in performance that was quite impressive. I wasn't expecting that much improvement, but as the caps were out of spec, it probably should not have been unexpected. (Easy job to do yourself) We then bought a further 2 pairs of "One Button" Heresy IIIs in raw Ash and they too blew us away. I made the risers and covers myself. While the 1.5s and IIIs sound a little different, we love the sound of both. They each have their own signature and we won't be parting with either model. We play all kinds of music on them as our tastes are fairly eclectic. They can do finesse or raw rock equally well. They're super efficient so you don't need much grunt to drive them, so they should work well with tube amps. I'd really like to get a nice tube amp one day...

]eep
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Re: Using Cyrus Two as a phono preamp

Post by ]eep » 24 Sep 2019 02:43

I agree, the Cyrus 2 is a great amp. I bought one in the late 80-ies and it worked very well. I don't see why you would use it as just a pre-amp. The power amp is much better than a Yamaha (I replaced it for one).

I also know the old Cyrus 2 keeps its quality better than the newer ones with to many ic's. I advised one to a friend based on my good experience but it slowly lost it's appeal (sound quality) and didn't work like it should (expensive complicated repair). The old basic type was great though.

That doesn't mean that there aren't better amps. But it's a great design. The MC might not be the best there is. I upgraded to a tube amp 3x the price (Audio Innovations 500) that was obviously a lot better. But that was not because the Cyrus was bad. It had an even better MM, combined with a tranny (AI T1000 silver coil that I still use) it beat the Cyrus's MC in a big way.

All in all I'd say loose the Yamaha and use just the Cyrus. Unless wear and age played tricks on it more than the Yamaha.

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Re: Using Cyrus Two as a phono preamp

Post by oztayls » 24 Sep 2019 05:26

]eep wrote:
24 Sep 2019 02:43
I agree, the Cyrus 2 is a great amp. I bought one in the late 80-ies and it worked very well. I don't see why you would use it as just a pre-amp. The power amp is much better than a Yamaha (I replaced it for one).

I also know the old Cyrus 2 keeps its quality better than the newer ones with to many ic's. I advised one to a friend based on my good experience but it slowly lost it's appeal (sound quality) and didn't work like it should (expensive complicated repair). The old basic type was great though.

That doesn't mean that there aren't better amps. But it's a great design. The MC might not be the best there is. I upgraded to a tube amp 3x the price (Audio Innovations 500) that was obviously a lot better. But that was not because the Cyrus was bad. It had an even better MM, combined with a tranny (AI T1000 silver coil that I still use) it beat the Cyrus's MC in a big way.

All in all I'd say loose the Yamaha and use just the Cyrus. Unless wear and age played tricks on it more than the Yamaha.
Thanks for your thoughts. I've found the Yamaha CA610 very good actually, particularly in the room its in. I've had it recapped with high-quality caps and it sounds awesome. It's trick over the Cyrus is that it can run 4 speakers whereas the Cyrus is a 2-trick pony. Maybe because the Klipsch Heresys are so efficient means the Yamaha is not sweating and is very loud at 9 o'clock, annoying the neighbors at 10. I do have a couple of nice amps in other rooms (AS1100 and AS701), but they are also driving subs so they have to stay put for now. The room with the CA610 and older H1.5s is smallish and a sub is not needed as the Heresy can get its rumble going if it has to, courtesy of a bit of EQ, which I hardly ever use. The CA610 is a bit like the Cyrus, very clean sound without unwanted noise.

I'm under no illusions that the Cyrus Two's MC is flawless. Obviously it's not the best and I can't adjust any settings either, but it does a damn good job. It certainly was better than the Schiit Mani I had. The Schiit had an OK MM stage but sounded average in MC mode. I'll have to look into your AI500. The Prima Luna's look good for the price too and get good raps. If their phono stage is as good as the amp, I might go with the "Yank Tank" down the track a bit.

]eep
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Re: Using Cyrus Two as a phono preamp

Post by ]eep » 24 Sep 2019 11:51

With such high efficiency speakers you could even try lower powered tube amps such as a SET like my 300b. I think for the MM part of the Audio Innovations you could as well try a Ear 834 clone.

If the Yamaha has had an overhaul it would sound good and clean (unlike the old worn Cyrus 3 I mentioned). I had my old Yamaha 310 for a repair the other day and I didn't like it that much anymore. It's no compare to my modified tube amps or cheap modern digital amps from China. I find a lot of progress has been made since the 70-ies. Not all vintage is worth listening except for some well placed tubes or vinyl.

I am curious about your Amari LP10. Did you ever write anything about it? Hard to find reviews and it looks very good from the tech part.

oztayls
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Re: Using Cyrus Two as a phono preamp

Post by oztayls » 25 Sep 2019 02:47

Yes, I’m looking into some modern tube amps as options in the near future, to update a couple of the Yamahas.

The enigmatic Amari LP10MK is something I do know quite a lot about. I will definitely have to do a write up on it soon as there is very little info out there about them. It’s a turntable that definitely needs to be heard and which should be in many more living rooms.

]eep
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Re: Using Cyrus Two as a phono preamp

Post by ]eep » 25 Sep 2019 22:49

Please do! I am seriously thinking about buying the LP11 but there's nothing out there in terms of info. By the tech involved it should outperform an LP12 (no relation :mrgreen: ). It looks more like my Clearaudio.

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